Thursday, December 2, 2010


When Leander was born his room was still a mess. It did not bother me because I thought he will live with us in the living room for a year or so. His cot and his changing table were in his room, but the playpen and all his toys cutely decorated our living space. And I thought this was the way it was supposed to be. Until I read about Montessori's thoughts on infants.

I knew that Pikler was all for the playpen, preferably outside in the garden. Well we don't have a garden and summer has been rather sad so Leander's main play area was our living room. Then I read "In a Montessori Home" which is just a brief collection of thoughts she had on infants and how the house should be prepared. In that she mentions that even those little children should have a bed they can easily climb in and out on their own to decide themselves when to sleep and when not (this especially applying to the daytime naps). Of course this bed can only be used once the little person is able to crawl but when Leander was close to 6 months old we thought this could happen anytime soon. We did not know what to expect but some early starters I know are already very active at this age.
So we decided to clear out his room and make space for him. We moved the playpen in so he could get used to being in this room, to accept this as HIS room. And suddenly the living room looked very much like us again. It was weird and at first he would not stay in there on his own for too long. But I have a chair in there too for the nightly feeding times so I would sit in the chair and read or knit or just watch him play.

Only when I was cooking or cleaning I would take him back with me to the living room so I would not have to run around and about all the time. Over the last few weeks I began to leave him more and more often in his room, I stayed in his playpen with him, hidden somewhere happily watching him learn to crawl and sit up (which he still struggles to achieve).
At the weekend we were cooking lunch for him and had him back in the living room with us. I have usually a blanket there (he rolls off pretty soon) and some toys (he often ignores cos the books on the shelf look more interesting). Jan was cooking and I sat on the sofa watching little Lman play. He had a cuddly sheep in his hands, the sheep has two straps and he was going to discover those (as those little persons do - enjoy straps and labels rather than the toy itself). But everytime Jan said something to me or made noise in the kitchen Leander would look up and "forget" to play with the sheep. He usually went back but another noise and he was interrupted again. I watched this for a while and got really annoyed.

Ever since I tried even harder to leave him in his room. I'm there with him when he is asking for me and I'm only taking him with me in the living room/kitchen for feeding times at lunch and at dinner. And quite often when I do the laundry or something all I hear from his room is some "lalala" and when I secretly go and check he is very busy discovering.

It was a very interesting experience to see him get distracted so easily.
And how many parents have their children in the living room or take them into every room in the house they are just doing something in (as far as I know even the toilet) because they are scared to leave the little ones alone for a moment? So how often do these children get interrupted in their play ?
I know not everybody has the space for an extra room for the child but in that case try and limit the surrounding actions in the area the child is playing in. And most importantly: have a constant play area somewhere, don't move your child around too much. If this space is safe you can easily leave your child in there for a moment while you go to the toilet for example.
I have discovered that Leander was really uneasy in the living room without the playpen around him but very happy in his own room. He knows this place and space and feels comfortable in it. This is where he can play and discover all straps and labels and little features in the wooden floor.

read more about the uninterrupted play here